Dhall Laboratory

Neuro-oncology

Girish Dhall, MD, is investigating innovative alternatives for children with malignant brain tumors who fail to respond to standard therapy, including early phase (phase 1 and 2) clinical trials, high-dose chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and immune therapies.

Research Topics

  • Pediatric malignant brain and spinal cord tumors

  • Correlative tumor biology and evaluation of new therapeutic drugs, biological therapies, and treatment delivery technologies

  • Designing irradiation-avoiding treatment strategies for infants and young children with malignant brain tumors

  • Development of treatment regimens for children and young adults with intracranial germ cell tumors

  • Myeloablative chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic progenitor cell rescue (derived from the patient’s own bone marrow, or umbilical cord blood for stem cell transplantation

Research Overview

Neuro-oncology is the study of tumors of the central nervous system (CNS), or the brain and spinal cord. CNS tumors are the second-most common type of cancers in children and adolescents.

A healthy brain and spinal cord are critical for normal physical activity and intellectual development. CNS tumors can cause damage to the central nervous system even before diagnosis, and experience and expertise are required to make sure that treatments used do not cause any further permanent damage.

Because there are many kinds of CNS tumors that develop in children, differing in tissue type and location within the brain and spinal cord, treatment must be individualized for each child and may require surgery, radiotherapy (X-ray treatments) and/or drug treatments (chemotherapy).

Girish Dhall, MD, is dedicated to improving the survival rate of young children with brain tumors without using radiation therapy or minimizing the dose and volume of radiation therapy, which can cause severe and irreversible damage to intellectual functioning.  He is investigating innovative clinical trials for children who fail to respond to standard therapy; a mix of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biologic therapy, and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Dr. Dhall’s clinical research goal is to discover novel, research-based diagnostic and treatment options for brain and spinal cord tumors, which can be offered to patients of the Neuro-Oncology Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He serves as CHLA’s institutional principal investigator for a number of important clinical trial research consortia including:

  • Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium - the study of correlative tumor biology and new therapies for primary CNS tumors of childhood with the objective to rapidly conduct novel phase I and phase II clinical evaluations of new therapeutic drugs, new biological therapies, treatment delivery technologies and radiation treatment strategies in children from infancy to 21 years of age with primary central nervous system tumors.

  • Neurofibromatosis (NF) Clinical Trials Consortium –clinical trials of novel medications in the treatment and prevention of neurofibromatosis.

  • Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN) – adult and pediatric neuro-oncologists working to find new treatments for ependymoma, a malignant brain tumor often found in young infants and children

  • Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) – innovative clinical trials based on cutting-edge research in children and young adults with malignant brain tumors.